Date May 31, 2023
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Brown Corporation approves base budget for Fiscal Year 2024

The balanced $1.69 billion base budget includes investments in employee compensation, student support and Brown’s ambitious plans for advancing research across campus.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Based on recommendations from the University Resources Committee, composed of faculty, staff, students and senior administrators, the Corporation of Brown University approved during its May 2023 meeting a $1.69 billion consolidated operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024.

The FY24 budget advances Brown’s focus on investing in the faculty, staff and students who work to fulfill the University’s academic mission every day. Salaries, wages and benefits comprise the largest share (44%) of the approved budget’s expenses, and student aid and support comprises the second-largest share (27%).

The budget also includes $277.8 million in endowment spending (a 22% increase) to support students and advance research, teaching and campus life initiatives, as well as $25 million in investments to support Brown’s bold and ambitious plans for driving research across all disciplines to new levels of excellence and impact.

The budget projects a balanced operating budget of $1.69 billion in revenues and $1.69 billion in expenditures. It follows the February 2023 establishment of the second-highest faculty and staff salary pool in 12 years, at 4%, and a 4.75% increase in tuition and fees in the face of significant inflation. A 5.2% climb in expenses at U.S. colleges and universities in the last fiscal year marked the largest annual jump since 2001.

In presenting the budget for review, Interim Provost and URC chair Lawrence E. Larson wrote that it reflects first and foremost a commitment to Brown’s mission and its people.

“At the core of the URC’s recommendations is the recognition that the faculty, staff and students in our community define all that Brown is and all that we can accomplish,” Larson wrote. “The budget reflects a commitment to supporting key academic initiatives, accessibility through robust student aid, and the implementation of the University’s Operational Plan for Investing in Research.”

As the University implements its plan to significantly increase the transformative impact of its research over the next five to seven  years, the $25 million in budget expenditures will serve as foundational investments focused on direct support for faculty research and improvements in research administration. Examples of work to build a foundation for research growth include increased funding for library collections to ensure access to cutting-edge scholarship and digital resources; renovations for research spaces across campus; hiring additional research staff; and new information technology and data infrastructure systems.

“Many of the new investments are intended to bolster research systems, structures, staffing and stakeholder partnerships — critical building blocks for the progress we’ll make in the coming months and years to significantly increase the impact of Brown’s research enterprise,” Larson wrote. “We are establishing the strong foundation necessary to move us forward on a trajectory that will build momentum over time.”

With $452.3 million in total funding for student financial support, the FY24 budget continues Brown’s long-term expansion of financial aid. The 8.3% increase in student aid over last year’s budget is driven in large part by Brown’s growing array of support measures, from increased scholarships for moderate-income undergraduates to reduced summer earnings expectations for high-need students.

Brown will maintain its commitment to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all undergraduates, with an undergraduate aid budget of $203 million, which is an increase of $15.6 million, or 8.3%, compared with FY23. The budget also reflects significant enhancements in financial support for graduate students. Brown will provide $230.6 million in student aid and support for graduate students, an increase of $18 million, or 8.6%, compared with the FY23 budget.

In addition to broad-based investments that benefit the majority of the University community, the budget also outlines important targeted investments, which include: the continued expansion of the faculty; health and wellness investments for the undergraduate body; and investments in the University’s physical infrastructure, including the opening of both The Lindemann Performing Arts Center and the Brook Street residence halls.

Larson noted that in a challenging economic environment, the URC devoted special attention to the impact of inflation on faculty, staff, students and their families. The committee worked to balance the competing demands of keeping Brown affordable and maintaining competitive compensation levels for faculty and staff, while controlling the costs of goods and services needed to operate the University. Balancing these priorities meant making difficult decisions.

“Initially, submitted funding requests from across the University exceeded available resources by $117 million — roughly 7% of the overall operating budget,” he wrote. “Over the course of several months, these funding requests were prioritized based on Brown’s institutional goals, and, where possible, additional funding sources were identified to cover a significant portion of the requests. In the end, the URC approved a balanced budget.”

Like many institutions, Brown is likely to face significant financial challenges in the coming years, Larson added. Those range from continued capital market uncertainty to inflationary pressures to continued competition in higher education labor markets.

“We need to balance a series of significant investments in compensation and benefits for our employees, facilities across campus, and financial aid for our students with a base of revenue that is growing more slowly than in recent years,” Larson said. “Accomplishing this balance will require us to be judicious, as well as creative, so that we continue to invest in our people and our facilities in the years ahead. I firmly believe that the submitted FY24 operating budget puts us on the right path.”

The University’s Fiscal Year 2024 begins on June 30, 2023. The full URC report is available on the website of Brown’s Office of the Provost.

Brown’s Fiscal Year 2024 Base Operating Budget

Consolidated Budget Revenue — Key Components

  • Tuition and fees: $716.3 million
  • Endowment: $277.8 million
  • Sponsored research: $287.1 million
  • Annual Fund and spendable gifts: $133.3 million
  • Auxiliary and miscellaneous: $270.5 million

Consolidated Budget Expenditures — Key Components

  • Faculty compensation: $297.6 million
  • Staff compensation: $423.3 million
  • Student compensation: $16.9 million
  • Undergraduate student aid: $202.6 million
  • Graduate student aid: $230.6 million
  • Other student aid: $19.1 million
  • General operating and subcontracts: $332.3 million
  • Property, debt and capital: $114 million
  • Internal services, transfers and other: $48.6 million

Budget by Division

The University’s consolidated budget comprises six main budget divisions, detailed here with total revenue budgets for FY24:

  • Education & General and Auxiliary Enterprises: $1.2 billion
  • Biology and Medicine: $231 million
  • Public Health: $124 million
  • Engineering: $26 million
  • Pre-College Programs: $45 million
  • Professional Studies: $14 million


Brown’s endowment payout is governed by a disciplined policy that balances the need for current income with the important goal of preserving the endowment’s value to provide funding for future generations of students.

For FY24, Brown’s endowment will provide $277.8 million of revenue to the operating budget, a $50.4 million increase over FY23. A payout of 4.8% — falling within the policy recommendation of an amount in the range of 4.5 to 5.5% of the endowment’s 12-quarter average fair value — will help ensure the University’s solid financial footing over the next decade and beyond.

This year’s payout will enable support for activities that range from undergraduate scholarships and professorships to graduate student fellowships, library acquisitions, academic programs and varsity athletics.

Tuition and Fees

To enable students to anticipate the following year’s cost of attendance, the Brown Corporation approves tuition and fees in February each year. Undergraduate tuition and fees for 2023-24, as approved in February 2023, are:

  • Tuition: $65,656
  • Standard room rate: $9,650
  • Standard board: $6,948
  • Health services fee: $1,090
  • Undergraduate student resources fee: $1,004
  • Student activities fee: $300
  • Student recreation fee: $80

TOTAL UNDERGRADUATE: $84,729 (a 4.75% increase)

Graduate tuition for most doctoral and on-campus master’s degree programs will increase by 4.75% to $8,207 per course. Given a shift in 2018 to market-based pricing for some master’s degrees, approximately a dozen of the University’s 33 master’s programs have tuition rates that vary from the standard — for most, tuition for 2023-24 will increase by 3.5%, with cost for a small number of programs remaining the same as for 2022-23.

Medical school tuition will increase by 3% to $69,286.